Plans for a major parcel distribution centre are set to be approved – but there are concerns because the site is close to City of York Council’s new landmark community woodland.
The DPD distribution centre is planned for Green Belt land to the south of Northminster Business Park in Upper Poppleton.
It is set to create 125 new jobs.
But parish councils and neighbouring businesses have fears about the increase in lorry traffic near the site. The access road to the centre, Northfield Lane, is also due to be the main route into the council’s new 194-acre community woodland according to Rufforth with Knapton Parish Council.
The council bought land just outside the outer ring road, west of Knapton, to plant 50,000 trees by 2023 as part of its bid to be net zero carbon by 2030.
The new distribution centre would be built on land north of the woodland and south of the current Pavers headquarters at the Northminster Business Park. The building will be almost 60,000 sq ft – including space for offices and staff rooms.
15 HGV spaces
There will be 30 level access loading doors and 11 dock level loading doors for vehicles, as well as 15 HGV parking spaces, 145 van parking spaces, 165 car parking spaces and 44 bicycle spaces.
Council planning officers have recommended the application be approved at a meeting – but they say it must also be referred to the Secretary of State for approval because the site is a large development in the Green Belt.
Rufforth with Knapton Parish Council do not object to the scheme but say: “However given that this application is for a parcels distribution business we are very concerned over possible congestion at the A59 junction, particularly in the light of the housing development underway on the Civil Service site [off Boroughbridge Road].
“We are also concerned about the impact on Northfield Lane, bearing in mind that this is intended to be the main access to the Community Woodland.”
“Congestion here is likely to encourage people to find alternative routes to the Woodland with resultant parking problems in places such as Knapton. Total vehicle movements per day are difficult to ascertain from the information provided but suffice to say they will be significant and this issue warrants stringent investigation.”
Upper Poppleton Parish Council have objected due to worries about extra traffic at the junction of Northfield Lane and the A59.
Two neighbouring companies also voiced concerns, saying there may be “a significant increase in HGV traffic through the business park”.
But the council planning department says applications can only be turned down on traffic grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on the roads.
They recommend the plans are approved because they will bring new jobs to the city. The planning report, written for councillors, says: “The proposed development would make a significant contribution to achieving one of the council’s main objectives which is to meet the city’s employment needs.”
“The proposal would also enable an existing company to remain within the district and to continue to grow.
“These benefits are, in combination, considered to amount to very special circumstances that clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt due to inappropriateness, impact on the openness and conflict with the purposes of including land within it.”
The meeting takes place tomorrow (Thursday, 1 July).